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Movie Review

When pro-family film critics sit down to compile their Top 10 of 2000, expect the unanimous inclusion of My Dog Skip. During WWII in a sleepy Mississippi town, a 9-year-old boy comes out of his shell with the help of a feisty canine.

Willie Morris (Muniz) has a good heart, but relates better to books than to his peers. Picked on by bullies and ignored by everyone else, Willie has one pal, Dink Jenkins, the town’s star athlete. Soon, Dink leaves to fight overseas. Enter Skip, a tenacious terrier pup who helps Willie explore life beyond his social tethers.

My Dog Skip has a litter of points to make. Lessons about loyalty, redemption, racial injustice, patriotism, nonviolence and stereotyping ("Give a man a label and you never have to get to know him") are hard to miss. Others take a less direct route to the heart. For example, the priceless innocence of first love involves modesty and kindness. Subtle scenes also revere God and illustrate the sweet potency of close family and community ties.

The film earns its PG rating for a handful of mild profanities and crude comments, several from children. Expect a few intense and emotional moments as well. While not enough to trip up teens and adults, such content may be inappropriate for younger audiences.

Reflecting on his life, a grown-up Willie notes, "Loyalty and love are the best things of all, and surely the most lasting." If that were all this movie had to say, it would be enough. It says more. Also, subplots about vanquishing moonshiners and training Skip to attack Hitler keep the gentle sermonizing fun and fresh. Mmmm. There’s nothing quite like a nice, warm slice of Americana.

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Frankie Muniz, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane, Caitlin Wachs


Jay Russell ( )


Warner Bros.



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Bob Smithouser

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